Trendy Kitchens

I met Matthew Quinn, the iconic kitchen and bath designer, at the Sub-Zero/Wolf showroom in Atlanta recently where he spoke to an intimate group of media contacts and bloggers to discuss today’s kitchen design trends. According to Quinn, it really starts with EuroCucina, an international kitchen and bath show in Milan every other year; the most recent show was April 2014. Quinn shared that EuroCucina was the place to see top design trends in one place, but it takes a week to walk the show since it literally has a mile of showrooms and is attended by over 300,000 global attendees. Before the Internet, blogs and instantaneously news coverage, it would take trends seen at EuroCucina a few years to hit the world…now we see them almost immediately.

So how are physical spaces evolving in the kitchen?

It’s more open and it’s growing. Kitchens are becoming larger as we want bigger kitchens whether we cook or not. It’s where the party ends up, right?! And the larger kitchen spaces include an expanded keeping room or adjoining areas.

Designer Barbara Westbrook, Westbrook Interiors, Atlanta, Ga.

The charming detailing of early American farmhouses set the tone, but enhanced with modern amenities. Designer Barbara Westbrook, Westbrook Interiors, Atlanta, Ga. Photo courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.

We want more windows. Other wall spaces may be sacrificed for more windows. We want more light and more nature light.


Designers added a custom-built storage cabinet, raising the height of wall cabinets, and increasing the size of the island enabled them to preserve a wall of windows and keep abundant natural light throughout the space. This is an excellent example of a well- designed kitchen. Note the countertop symmetry with matching faucets, unique pendant lighting and artisan element with the metal-and-wood bar stools. Designers Adrienne Fulmer and Linda McDougald both from Postcards from Paris and Scott Johnston, Johnston Design Group; both firms located in Greenville, S.C. Photo courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.

The ceiling design has become much more important. This is especially true in rooms where we spend most of our time. In the past, homeowners spent a lot of money on the ceilings in the formal dining and living rooms that were rarely used. Now they are spending money on ceilings in the kitchens and breakfast rooms where they spend most of their time. These ceilings can range in design from groin, coffer, radius vaults and the addition of beams and other natural elements.


The ten-foot ceiling in refreshing white and ocean blue stretches from the kitchen through the breakfast room, family room and study in this Long Island Sound home. Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances were integrated including a pizza oven. Photograph by Tim Lee Photography. Photo courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.

Lighting has become much more important. Lighting can make a home especially by adding more unique lighting in the kitchen. To get more light, consumers are prone to add more can lights but Quinn likes the addition of sconces and library lamps especially around the kitchen hood or other unique areas in the kitchen. Other unique lighting can be achieved by adding an artisan element.


In this Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio-designed kitchen for the 2014 Atlanta Symphony Show House, Matthew used a Circa Lighting chandelier but attached it to a support beam using a artisan-made arm making the beam that was once a challenge is now an interesting visual element.

Although Quinn’s work and the Matthew Quinn Collection series take him across the world, his kitchen design work is primarily focused on the Atlanta market, Florida (especially anything on the coast) and New York. The Atlanta design trend is about 30% traditional, 20% modern and 50% transitional. Atlantans like to play it safe with their kitchen designs but are willing to take risks if they can see it. They are more conservative and more conscious about resale. Atlantans like to take a trend and make it their own by adding their own personal twist. They want to make it unique and exclusive regardless of their budgets.

One thing that Quinn likes to do to get a client’s sense of style is to ask them: What is your favorite restaurant and your favorite hotel? This will gleam a sense of their style. Funny enough he also likes to go into their closets to see what colors they like to wear and get their own sense of style through the clothes they wear.

Quinn recommends when working on a new kitchen to start with architecture, then flooring, then countertops, then cabinets and appliances.

Architecture: Designers like Quinn are taking the angles out of kitchens. Kitchens are becoming square in its design, making for a cleaner and simpler look. In his kitchens he’s achieving a design that’s more ‘grounded.’

Flooring: Consumers want their floors to speak volume vs. simply selecting a prefab material. Hardwoods are still very popular but flooring is being installed in interesting patterns especially in smaller, unique spaces. The use of reclaimed woods allow consumers to tell a story.

Countertops: Keep in mind that countertops can be unique and exclusive with the backsplash as the same material as the countertops. And backsplashes aren’t just for behind the stove but the material can be used on that entire wall to make a more dramatic visual element: think tile walls to slab backsplashes. Surfaces are subtle. With countertops consider waterfall, stone sink, marble, granite, quartz and quartzite and integrated stone sinks. Also consider the various edge details available with whatever material is selected.


This is an excellent example of a waterfall countertop. This home in Irvine, Calif. has a grand 14-foot center island with the simple feel of a contemporary baker’s table cut from Calcata Vagli stone that anchors this open space. Designer Courtney Lawrence Ziething, CC and Company, Newport Beach, Calif. Photo courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.

Cabinets and Kitchen Stove Hoods: When you think about a kitchen design you want to consider drawers, wall cabinets and doors. And Sub-Zero makes a full line of drawer cabinets including refrigerator drawers, freezer drawers and more. The interior of cabinets are just as important as the exteriors. Microwaves can be integrated into a drawer or cabinet. Specialty drawers include all sorts of various options including china holders, pot lid racks for cookies sheets and pot lids, spice holders, silverware dividers, and more. White kitchens will continue to reign. It’s timeless. But materials like exquisite veneers are very popular and have an exotic look.


This kitchen incorporates an interesting wood hood over the 60” Wolf Dual Fuel Range plus unique lighting anchored on a natural tumbled stone wall. Designer Courtney Lawrence Ziething, CC and Company, Newport Beach, Calif. Photo courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.

Don’t forget the details: Modern kitchen cabinets typically have no hardware while traditional and transitional incorporate handles and even uniquely designed knobs and handles ranging from adding the homeowner’s initials to an artisan element.

Kitchen stove hoods are still a strong design element for homeowners but the material used now range from metal, brass, copper, pewter, stainless, painted and even combinations of materials and then perhaps a handmade element is added. Painted metal hoods are achieved by a powder-coated process available in hundreds of colors that’s adheres directly to the metal.

Appliances: The importance of appliance integration needs to be in contrast to other commercial appliances. Although Quinn prefers to integrate all the appliances sans the range and ovens depending on local area’s building codes, but an all white kitchen might incorporate a double stainless and/or stainless and glass Sub-Zero refrigerator to give the space a dramatic element that breaks the use of a lot of white.


Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances were selected to complement the timeless design of this white kitchen. The stainless-steel finish creates a sophisticated, professional-looking kitchen where friends and family gather to partake in and celebrate cooking. Durable materials and finishes were chosen for a house filled with teenagers and dogs. Designer Cynthia Carlton, Cynthia Carlton, Associates, Los Angeles, Calif. Photo courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.

If a client wants two wall ovens, Quinn might be quick to suggest placing the ovens side by side so they are symmetric and within a client’s reach vs. one being too high and one being too low. He’ll even go as far as taking the client’s elbow height measurement so the ovens can be placed accordingly for ease of the client’s reach.


This contemporary kitchen showcases side-by-side ovens in this Tucson, Ariz. home. Color and texture were derived from materials consistent throughout the house. Designer John Senhauser, John Senhauser Architects, Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.

The continued popularity of television cooking shows is also making kitchens more chef-oriented. Homeowner’s that love to cook want their kitchens to say just that: ‘I love to cook.’ And they do this, for example, by beautifully showcasing their knives, pots and pans, spices and even the new stainless and glass refrigerators.

This kitchen blends traditional cabinetry and hardware, whimsical touches like the black and white floor tile, a black and white paneled vent hood and retro bar stools with state-of-the-art appliances.

This kitchen blends traditional cabinetry and hardware, whimsical touches like the black-and-white floor tile, a black-and-white paneled vent hood and retro bar stools with state-of-the-art appliances. Designer Gary Striegler, Craftsman Builders Inc., Fayetteville, Ark. and Tom Greenway, Verser Cabinets, Rogers, Ark. Photos courtesy of Sub-Zero/Wolf.



The black-and-white color scheme works perfectly with the stainless appliances to give the kitchen a clean but not contemporary look. The swivel bar stools and pendant lighting make this kitchen feel like a real diner in New Orleans where the homeowner grew up.

So my final take away on Quinn’s kitchen trend presentation is to hire a professional kitchen designer that will collaborate with the architect, lighting experts, and local artisans to make your new kitchen uniquely yours.

Matthew Quinn is co-owner of Kitchen Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio at Matthew Quinn Collection at ADAC in Atlanta. Design Galleria specializes in kitchen, bath and closet design for projects spanning the globe.  The Matthew Quinn Collection is a showcase of unique decorative hardware and an information center for products such as sinks, tubs, faucets and hoods sold around the globe through various distributors and retailers.

Matthew Quinn and Womack Interiors Kitchen

This Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio kitchen by Matthew Quinn was a collaborative effort with Womack Interiors of Atlanta, Ga. for this gorgeous 2012 Atlanta Symphony Show House. The hood, lighting and contrasting dark cabinets and marble countertops make this a killer combination. Photo courtesy of Womack Interiors.

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3 Responses to “Trendy Kitchens”

  1. Carolyn says:

    I love the black and white kitchen. After the loop trip I want to redo my condo kitchen. It’s small and I miss the big one in Atlanta.

  2. Chloe Tuttle says:

    I especially like the cabinets with feet! they look like furniture.

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With a Southern Twist is all about good living in today's South. A true Southerner, the author's passions include food, home design, travel, restaurants, shopping, and entertaining. It is a fun blog about one of her most beloved regions of the country, shared through personal experiences.